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Luca Mandalino

The Theory of push lines.

The four unescapable push lines and the five fundamental principles of modern tennis playing technique.

Chapter three.

Principle number one: “The synergic action of the player having a dynamic effect on the ball.”

Sometimes, watching tennis matches played by professional players can be monotonous. For instance, when two regularists play on a clay court and with a succession of rebound topspin shots, at a rather high ball speed, prevent one another from applying different tactical schemes.

On the other hand, other matches are captivating and spectacular. We are all amazed by the ease with which some champions succeed in obtaining impressive dynamic spins, playing service balls with extreme precision at over 200 km/h, or hitting the ball very hard with a rebound forehand, sending it at 150 km/h with perfect trajectories and rebounds near the lines.

We all asked ourselves at least once how professionals manage to play in such an accurate and regular manner and to give the ball such a dynamic spin; sometimes it seems as if they don’t make any particular effort in doing so.

The principle of “the synergic action of the player having a dynamic effect on the ball” emphasizes the mechanism used by professionals to obtain the spectacular performances mentioned above.

Synergy is the simultaneous action of two or more phenomena which causes an expansion of their single effects.
A spin is an event caused by a phenomenon.

The dynamic spin of the ball, obtained by professionals, is its  considerable travel speed combined with an accurate trajectory and a particular spin.

The phenomenon which causes this dynamic effect is the synergic action of physical parts of the body (legs, hips, shoulders, arm, forearm and hand), which develop a kinetic energy  or a push in a specific direction on the racket which, if held correctly, can hit the ball with a high speed movement of the string face, or peripheral speed, with no energy dispersion, with an essential movement.

The racket should be considered as part of the player’s body and of its synergic action.

Moreover, the string face has a slingshot effect on the ball, exerting dynamism and travel speed to a degree which is directly proportional to its elasticity.

A moderate tension on the string face confers a good elasticity and protracts the contact with the ball to the advantage of sensitivity, of spins and of saving precious energy in carrying out a return game.

A high tension, on the other hand, allows greater control when playing quick shots because it reduces the slingshot effect and it limits the risk of sending the ball beyond the backcourt line.

“To strike the ball on an early rebound” is another useful element to optimize the dynamic effect on the ball and it consists in hitting the ball before it starts its rebound descending arc and therefore closer to the point in which it touches the ground in order to hit it while it is in its upward phase, possibly from a position between hip and shoulder, to make good use of a better biomechanical action.

The action which exploits this specific timing implies a high level of mental concentration and a better ability and use of energy in footwork.

An early rebound offers the possibility of hitting the ball when, during its upward phase, it is still travelling fast and  full of energy. This means to utilize the arrival speed of the ball and to oppose its forward movement and send it back to the opponent’s court at an equal or higher speed  with a moderate use of our synergic action.

Moreover, the weapon of an early rebound places the opponent under psychological pressure, leaves him less time to react between one stroke and another and it smoothes the path towards more insidious angular shots.

By applying this principle, we too can execute more accurate trajectories and succeed in better controlling the strokes we intend to play with a higher ball speed,  just like professional players.

Of course, thanks to their athletic qualities, acquired in scrupulous daily training sessions, professionals have excellent footwork and a powerful force which enhances their technical moves, enabling them to obtain qualitatively superior results.

Previous Article Chapter two.
Next Article Chapter four.
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